to do in brighton

Things to do in Brighton

Brighton, or Brighton & Hove as it’s officially called, is a seaside resort in the south of England that is equal parts nostalgic and progressive. It has enough arcade games to make your inner child happy and enough cozy nightlife hot spots to keep your outer adult drunk until the wee hours. The city has a laid-back feel, but there’s nothing boring about it. If you’re visiting for a couple of days, here are some ideas for things to do in Brighton.

Hit the Brighton Palace Pier

brighton uk

Brighton Palace Pier is a wonderland for children and adults alike. With a beautiful view of the surrounding beach, the Pier has classic carnival rides like carousels and coasters along with yummy favorites like donuts and candy floss. If you’re visiting off-season like we did and you’re not keen to be pelted in the face with freezing rain on the outdoor rides, you can head to the two indoor gaming areas, the Palace of Fun and the Dome Arcade. Here you’ll find everything from skeeball to VR video games. And if you think you’re too old for a few rounds of air hocket, there are also slots and gambling tables.

Hang out at the beach

Brighton’s rocky coast is vast, so there’s plenty of space to enjoy some fun in the sun. In the summer, you can rent a deck chair for the day and brave the cold waters of the English Channel. But if strolling along the beach and the esplanade is enough for you, there’s plenty to see along the beaches of Brighton & Hove like the iconic colorful beach huts that are only for the sale and use of local residents.

things to do in brighton

Two of the main kitschy attractions located along the beach are the i360 and the Upside Down House. The Brighton i360 is a bit like a spaceship elevator made of glass that goes up and down the 138 meters of the anchoring structure, offering visitors views of the beach and surrounding area. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also walk around the top of the i360 pod or abseil down to the beach.

For slightly less stomach-churning thrills, the Upside Down House is small two-story experience that offers you plenty of silly photo opportunities. Even if you don’t stop in, the attraction is worth seeing from the outside on the esplanade.

Tour the Royal Pavilion

things to do in brighton

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is one of the most interesting historical sites in the city. It’s the former royal residence of George, Prince of Wales. The Pavilion’s Indian exterior with its ornate domes and minarets will surely catch your eye, but it’s nothing compared to the wonders you’ll find inside. Built when exoticism was in, the interior is lavish with both Chinese and Indian elements that are nothing short of stunning. The tour of the building takes you through the Royal Apartments, the Music Room and Salon, as well as the jaw-dropping Banqueting Room where the table is perpetually set for an extravagant banquet. The Royal Pavilion garden is maintained as it was in the Regency period, the only one of its kind in the UK.

brighton attractions

Shop

One of the coolest things about Brighton is how much incredible independent shopping there is. The heart of Brighton’s shopping is in The Lanes and North Laine, which are adjacent neighborhoods made up of small pedestrian streets full of vintage stores, bookstores, boutiques, and cafes. Nearby at the Brighton Open Market, you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade jewelry 7 days a week. Whether you’re in the market for souvenirs for your dog, vegan perfumes, or fabulous drag or trans outfits, Brighton has a little something for everyone.

Eat and drink to your heart’s content

Brighton’s culinary and nightlife scene is quite varied. You can enjoy a traditional English pub vibe at places like The Basketmakers Arms and The Marine Tavern, where they also have themed drag shows. At the Mucky Duck, you can even order authentic Thai with a local beer. But if you’re feeling a little fancy, aesthetic cafes and restaurants like Oeuf and Ivy in the Lanes are the places to indulge in a nice brunch and craft cocktails.

brighton attractions

If you have the time and you’re so inclined to do the cooking yourself, you can also spend a couple of hours learning to make a new dish or dessert at the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Their cooking classes bring locals out while also benefiting people in need.

You don’t want to miss Brighton’s cozy cocktail bars for a high-end drink if that’s your thing. The Golden Pineapple of Ship Street features a Mexican menu and nearly 100 tequilas and mezcals. Treat yourself to dessert at the Plotting Parlour, a speakeasy with indulgent cocktails.

Brighton is also wonderfully gay-friendly and there are a slew of gay bars all within walking distance from each other. On a warm summer day, the Rooftop Bar at Club Revenge is the place to be. Flanked by giant rainbows, the roof has the perfect view of the beach and the pier. You can also get into diva mode at Bar Broadway, where you can karaoke showtunes and pop hits. Even the bars that are not explicitly gay bars are inclusive and welcoming.

On your way out of Brighton, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of Banky’s Kissing Coppers artwork which is just a few steps from Brighton train station. That’s just a small bit of the creative street art that is all over the city, but probably its most famous bit.

brighton attractions

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